TanDEM-X Blog | 31. May 2010

Tests completed - the next TanDEM-X transmission will come from space

With finalisation of the functional tests for the satellite bus and instrument, we have reached another important milestone. Evaluation of the test data confirmed that everything was nominal. In one of the last tests, the satellite was powered up solely by its internal supply and the external power was switched off. This too was successful, so the satellite was turned off and the wiring to the electrical test equipment was removed – a slightly melancholic moment. The next time we receive a signal from the spacecraft it will be in orbit, having separated from the launcher. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 26. May 2010

A long test day begins

Today, with the commencement of the Abbreviated Functional Test, the final checkout of the radar instrument began. The team is now complete - travelling yesterday from Moscow, additional colleagues from Astrium and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) arrived at just the right time. For most of them this is not their first stay here in Baikonur - they previously worked on TerraSAR-X and the facility and the working environment are familiar to them. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 25. May 2010

The final checkout begins

The fueling of the TanDEM-X satellite with hydrazine was completed on Saturday 22 May. This potentially hazardous operation was performed successfully by Astrium. Following this, the satellite was packed into its container and transported from the fueling station back to the integration facitity. After the arrival of new personnel from Germany on Tuesday, the final checkout of the satellite bus and instruments will start in the middle of this week. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 20. May 2010 | 3 Comments

Safety first in the fuelling hall

TanDEM-X has left the integration facility for its reaction control system tank to be filled with hydrazine over the next few days. To do this, the satellite has been moved to the fuelling station as was reported earlier. Fuelling is a dangerous job, because the propellant used is quite toxic. When you enter the fuelling hall, the sign over the entrance reminds everyone to not forget the dangers. Translated, it reads, "Regardless of how urgent your work is, safety comes first." This is a reference to the devastating Nedelin fuelling catastrophe here in Baikonur in 1960, which took 126 lives. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 17. May 2010 | 1 Comment

TanDEM-X makes progress

TanDEM-X in cleanroom

We are now in the second week of our TanDEM-X launch campaign here in Baikonur. The satellite has been installed on its test rig and a quick check shows that the instrument and spacecraft are in good health. Meanwhile, the propulsion and cold gas systems have been pressurised to check that they are leak tight. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 13. May 2010 | 1 Comment

TanDEM-X is in Baikonur

It was a long, long way to Baikonur. Already, at the beginning of the trip, the cargo plane – loaded with 37 tons of TanDEM-X and its support equipment in six containers – was delayed for several hours. It was not until 22:45 that we were able to leave Munich. One might have hoped that the stop in Ulyanovsk would be short – but on the contrary, the customs checks were extensive and time consuming. read more

TanDEM-X Blog | 11. May 2010 | 2 Comments

TanDEM-X is on its way to Baikonur!

Since my last report, the satellite, weighing in at 1350 kilograms, has arrived safely at Franz Josef Strauss Airport in Munich, packed in its air-conditioned transport container, and will set out at 18:00 today on the next leg of its journey on board an Antonov AN-124 bound for Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Immediately after it lands on 12 May, the launch campaign will start. The satellite will be unpacked, filled with hydrazine fuel and then put through a series of tests. One week before its launch date, the satellite will be transported to its silo, in which the Dnepr-1 launch vehicle that will take it into orbit is ready and waiting. The satellite will then be installed on the launcher, its batteries will be charged and the final tests will be conducted. Then, all anyone can do is to cross their fingers and wish it well! read more